For many people, the idea of losing your vision is frightening. We rely so heavily on being able to see the world around us that the thought of not being able to is almost unimaginable. However, some people do end up with varying cases of vision loss due to a variety of factors. Let’s learn about how vision loss is defined, what factors contribute to it, and how you can help to keep your vision healthy.
Understanding Vision Loss
Sometimes we think about vision as an all or nothing element – either we can see clearly, with or without the help of glasses or contact lenses, or we are blind. Instead, there’s an entire spectrum of visual impairment that’s classified as vision loss. It can happen suddenly or may manifest over time and some people only lose parts of their ability to see while others may experience blindness.
Depending on the cause, vision loss may be treatable and doesn’t have to dramatically affect your day to day life. You may find that your ability to see improves with certain medications to manage a health condition or that specialized glasses or contact lenses can help. You’ll want to work with your ophthalmologist to address your vision loss and develop a treatment plan that best meets your needs.
How Can You Lose Your Vision?
Aside from accidents that result in eye injuries, most people lose their vision due to a medical condition or natural aging. Individuals over the age of 40 tend to experience vision loss from one of the following:
- Cataracts – The inner lens of the eye becomes cloudy, obstructing your ability to see
- Macular degeneration – Responsible for clear vision, the macula can deteriorate and reduce your central vision
- Glaucoma – Increased pressure within the eye can cause slow vision loss over time
- Diabetic retinopathy – If you have diabetes, the blood vessels in your eyes are affected and can limit your ability to see well
Keeping Your Eyes Healthy
While vision loss can play a major role in your day to day life, you don’t have to succumb to one of these conditions. It’s recommended that you maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and lean protein and exercising regularly, as this will help to keep all parts of your body strong.
Additionally, while there is no way to completely avoid age-related vision loss, you can delay the onset of the above diseases. Wearing sunglasses anytime you are outside will help to reduce the rate of cataract development. Avoiding smoking and getting an eye exam each year will also minimize your risk of vision loss earlier on in life. Those with diabetes should be careful to keep their blood sugar controlled so that the blood vessels in your eyes do not sustain damage.
If you notice that your vision isn’t as clear as it once was, make sure to visit your ophthalmologist as soon as possible. Many people with vision loss find that their symptoms can be treated, allowing them to continue to live a full life.